pausing to think anew

The Greeks seem to understand Sabbath.

“Embedded in their language, expressed in two distinct words for “time,” is an intuition about the possibility of sanctified time. Time, they knew, has two faces, two natures. It exists in two separate realms, and we orient ourselves primarily to one or the other. One is sacred time, the other profane.

The first Greek word is chronos. It is the time of clock and calendar, time as a gauntlet, time as a forced march. Chronos is the presiding deity of the driven.

The second Greek word is kairos. This is time as a gift, as opportunity, as season. It is time pregnant with purpose. In kairos time you ask not, “What time is it?” but “What is this time for?” Kairos is the servant of holy purpose.

This year, this day, this hour, this moment – each is ripe for something: Play. Work. Sleep. Love. Worship. Listening. Each moment lays hold of a significance beyond itself.

Chronos betrays us, always. It devours the beauty it creates. But sometimes chromos betrays itself: it stirs in us a longing for Something Else. Either we end up as the man in Ecclesiastes did: driven, driven, driven, racing hard against chronos, desperate to seize beauty but always grasping smoke, ashes, thorns. Seeking purpose and finding none, only emptiness.

OR we learn to follow the scent of eternity in our hearts. We begin to orient toward kairos. We start to sanctify some of our time. Purpose, even unsought, can take shape out of the smallest, simplest things.”

“I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil – this is the gift of God.” Eccl. 3:12-13

~ Mark Buchanan, The Rest of God


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